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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Understanding and Utilizing Lean and Six Sigma in the Histology Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Value: According to the Customer

Question: Why must organizations ignore their existing products and assets?
Answer: Because organizations become bias in their belief that the customer wants what we currently have....only because that is what we currently have.

I know that the above answer doesn't appear to make any sense, but that is exactly what many organizations do. It is actually quite common for organizations to look internally to their own existing products and services and believe that is what the customer prefers. Many companies assume that what they can produce, is precisely what the customer is willing to accept. This is a HUGE mistake. In order to excel in any product or service delivery, businesses and service organizations must retrain their thinking to always be looking outward to determine what is of value to their customers, not what is of value to them. "Value" really then becomes what the customer is willing to pay for - at a specific price and at a spectific time. It is a moving and constantly changing target, that demands staying in close touch with your customer by constantly collecting customer feedback. There are many tools available to help ogranizations accomplish this goal, such as:
  • Voice of the customer (VOC) trees
  • Critical to quality (CTQ) trees
  • Kano analysis
  • Market research via interviews, surveys and focus groups
Afterall, there is no point in being exceptional in developing and bringing a product or service to the market that no customer really wants or is willing to pay for!